Rare Orange-Eyed Owl Seen After Hiding For Over A Century

The Montane forest of Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu has held a secret that most people aren’t aware of. It started 125 years ago when scientists discovered a subspecies of the rare, Rajah Scops-Owl.

The owl is so rare that experts didn’t know much about it and couldn’t tell you about their breeding habits, vocalizations, distribution, or even the size of the owl population.

That may be changing, however, because the owl has been rediscovered.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, a rediscovery of the orange-eyed owl took place recently and there are now pictures of it in the wild. This information was posted in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

Experts try to discern the relationships that occur within the species but among different genotypes or, perhaps, species that are closely related. That field of study is phylogeography, as is reported by Science Direct. Those scientists attempt to trace the biogeographic information about those populations of animals.

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There was a problem when it came to the Otus brookii brookii, however, and that is the fact that they didn’t know anything about the ecology, taxonomic, or distribution of the owl.

Photo: Eureka Alert/Andy Boyce

The rediscovery of that owl was reported in Smithsonian Magazine after it took place in 2016.

In an interview with the magazine, Andy Boyce shared the rediscovery was largely a matter of being at the right place at the right time. He wasn’t there to look for the owl, he was looking into different bird species and was acting on a tip when he found this strange bird.

He said: “If we didn’t document it right then and there, this bird could disappear again for who knows how long. It was a really rapid progression of emotion. There was nervousness and anticipation as I was trying to get there, hoping the bird would still be there. Just huge excitement, and a little bit of disbelief, when I first saw the bird and realized what it was. And then, immediately, a lot of anxiety again.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It is thought that the owl has not been seen in such a long time because the population of the species is so low. It may be that it is also specific to the island and it took two weeks of searching before he was able to capture the picture.

He also said that there are species going extinct quickly and we may never even know they existed. According to his words: We “can’t conserve what we don’t know exists.”

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